Blackjack Switch – Complete guide to Playing Blackjack Switch

Introduction

Blackjack Switch is a variant of blackjack that has all the excitement of a regular game of blackjack with a unique twist. In this game a player plays 2 hands against the dealer’s single hand. What makes it unique is the fact that the player is allowed to switch cards between the hands. By switching cards, the player has a shot at bettering his hand even before getting to the next move in the game. Also, the fact that the player can switch cards is, at the very least, interesting, as this is considered an illegal maneuver in other blackjack variants.

The objective of Blackjack Switch remains the same as in traditional blackjack: beat the dealer by landing a hand of 21 or as close to it as possible. The option of switching makes the game complex and greatly increases the importance of strategy when it comes to playing to win.

Basic Differences between Blackjack Switch and Regular Blackjack

There is not much of a difference between Blackjack Switch and a regular game of blackjack. The one major twist in the variant creates a few differences in the way a player plays the game and also the chances of winning.

Playable Blackjack Switch game:

  • The player plays 2 hands at a time.
  • The player is given the option of switching cards between his hands.
  • The switch is usually available for the second card in each deal.
  • The player makes 2 bets for each hand as against one in a single-hand game.
    • The difference is this is mandatory in Blackjack Switch.
    • In other multi-hand games the player has the option of playing a single hand.
  • The player has an additional betting option in the form of the Super Match bet.
  • The dealer can push on a total of 22 against non-blackjack or 21-value player hands.
    • The player blackjack beats the dealer’s 22.

Rule Variations in Blackjack Switch and their Impact on the House Edge

The change or modification of some of the rules in Blackjack Switch directly impacts the house edge.

  • The house edge when using optimal strategy is 0.58%. This is for games with 6 decks where:
    • A switched blackjack gets 21 points.
    • The dealer hits on a soft 17.
  • The house edge in games using 8 decks is +0.02%.
  • Games where blackjack caused by a switch results in an automatic win have a house edge of -0.40%.
  • Games where blackjack results in an automatic win have a house edge of -0.21%.
  • Games where the dealer stands on a soft 17 come with a house edge of -0.30%.

Blackjack Switch Rules

The following are the rules for playing Blackjack Switch.

  • The game uses between 6 and 8 decks of cards.
  • Most of the standard blackjack rules apply.
  • The player places 2 bets mandatorily, one for each hand he is dealt. Both bets are of equal value.
  • The player is dealt 4 cards, all face up, i.e. he has 2 hands to work with.
    • The player can switch the second card of each hand.
  • A blackjack hand formed by a switch is legal. This hand is not a blackjack hand and counts as 21 points as it has been formed not because of the deal but because of the switch.
  • Doubling is allowed on any 2 cards.
  • Doubling is allowed after a split.
  • Re-splitting is allowed; a player may re-split a maximum of 4 hands.
  • Player blackjack hands that win pay out even money.
  • The dealer’s second card, the hole card, is dealt face down.
  • The dealer peeks for blackjack if his opening card is an Ace. Dealer blackjack results in an automatic win for the dealer.
  • The dealer must hit on a soft 17. The exception is in Ontario, Canada, where the dealer must stand on a soft 17.
  • The dealer must stand on a hard 17.
  • The dealer stands on all hands with a value of 18 or more.
  • The player can use the Super Match side bet and win if he has a pair or other better hands from the first 4 cards he is dealt. We will read about this side bet later.

Under Russian Rules, you see a few changes in the way the game is played.

  • Early surrender option is available. Sometimes this option is not provided if the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace.
  • The dealer is not dealt a hole card.
  • The dealer must stand on a soft 17 hand.

How to Play Blackjack Switch

The following steps outline the way Blackjack Switch is played.

  • The player makes 2 bets of identical value.
    • At this point he also has the option of making the Super Match side bet.
  • Once the bets are placed the deal is made.
  • The player is dealt 2 hands, all cards dealt face up.
  • The dealer gets 2 cards, of which the hole card, the second card, is dealt face down.
  • If the dealer’s face card is an Ace or a 10-value card he peeks for blackjack.
    • A dealer’s blackjack results in an automatic and immediate win for him.
    • The only exception is a player blackjack, which results in a push.
  • Once the dealer’s cards are dealt it is time for the player to make his move.
  • The player has the option of switching the second card of each of his deals to improve his hand.
  • Regardless of whether he switches or opts not to, the next move still needs to be made. The player can:
    • Hit: Pick up additional cards to try and strengthen his hand without crossing 21.
    • Stand: Leave his original hand as is; this is a sound option in case of a good strong hand.
    • Double down: The player doubles his initial wager and then opts to hit once; after that he must stand.
    • Split: The player splits a hand of 2 identical card values into 2 separate hands. Each hand is played separately then.
  • Once the player plays his hand the dealer reveals his face down card. He plays his hand from there. He also gets to switch cards and can pick additional cards to strengthen his hand.
  • The hand with the bigger value wins.

The Super Match Side Bet in Blackjack Switch

An exciting betting option available to players in Blackjack Switch is the Super Match side bet. This is a bet that a player can place on the possibility of the different hands that can culminate from the player’s 4 original cards. The player has to place this bet before the deal takes place. If none of the hands listed below are seen in the first 4 cards of the player he loses the Super Match bet. However, he still has a shot at winning the regular bet he has also placed.

  • Pair: Pays out at 1:1 (even money)
  • 3 of a Kind: Pays out at 5:1
  • 2 Pairs: Pays out at 8:1
  • 4 of a Kind: Pays out at 40:1

The information about the different possible hands with the 4 cards and their associated payouts (listed above) can be seen on the table itself.

Blackjack Switch Strategy

Strategy plays a very critical role when it comes to Blackjack Switch simply because of the way the game has been designed. We take a look at the strategy charts for the game with the assumption that the game is being played under the Las Vegas rules and that there are 8 decks in use.

Player’s Hand                    ——Dealer’s Up Card——

Hard 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
5-8 H H H H H H H H H H
9 H H H H DH H H H H H
10 DH DH DH DH DH DH DH H H H
11 DH DH DH DH DH DH DH DH H H
12 H H H S S H H H H H
13 H DH DH S S H H H H H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
15 S S S S S H H H H H
16 S S S S S H H H H H
17 S S S S S S S S S S

 

Player’s Hand          ————Dealer’s Up Card————

Soft 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
A-2 H H H H H H H H H H
A-3 H H H H H H H H H H
A-4 H H H H H H H H H H
A-5 H H H H DH H H H H H
A-6 H H H DH DH H H H H H
A-7 S S S DS DS S S S S S
A-8 S S S S S S S S S S
A-9 S S S S S S S S S S
A-10 S S S S S S S S S S

 

Player’s Hand          ————Dealer’s Up Card————

Pairs 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
2-2 H H H P P P H H H H
3-3 H H H P P P H H H H
4-4 H H H H H H H H H H
5-5 DH DH DH DH DH DH DH H H H
6-6 H H P P P H H H H H
7-7 S P P P P P H H H H
8-8 P P P P P P P P H H
9-9 S S P P P S P P S S
10-10 S S S S S S S S S S
A-A P P P P P P P P P P

In the charts above, the terms represent the following:

  • H: Hit
  • S: Stand
  • DH: Double if permitted, else Hit
  • DS: Double if permitted, else Stand.
  • P: Split

There are different strategies a player can employ while playing Blackjack Switch.

  • Simple switching strategy
  • Advanced switching strategy
  • Arnold Snyder switching strategy